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For Immediate Release

Obama and Congress: Commit Resources for Your New Global Health Strategy

Cambridge, Mass - 05/06/2009

(Cambridge, MA)—Physician's for Human Rights (PHR) welcomes the Obama Administration's intention to shape a new, comprehensive global health strategy, but urges a greater investment in global health programs to meet the laudable goals outlined by President Obama today. The statement released by the White House calls for $63 billion to support global health programs over six years.

PHR urges the Administration and Congress to provide sufficient resources to meet the global health components of the Millennium Development Goals, which is significantly more than the funding levels outlined in the President's initial statement on global health initiatives. The greater investment in global health must scale up funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to meet the levels authorized by Congress last year in the PEPFAR reauthorization.

Congress authorized $48 billion for PEPFAR over five years with the goals of treating at least 3 million people with HIV, preventing 12 million new infections, caring for 12 million people, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children, and training and retaining at least 140,000 new health workers.

"The minimal increases for PEPFAR outlined in the President's statement fall short of the resources needed to meet the goals outlined in the PEPFAR reauthorization," said Pat Daoust, MSN, RN, Director of PHR's Health Action AIDS campaign. "The goals outlined in the law are attainable, but only if we commit the necessary resources."

PHR worked to secure provisions in the PEPFAR reauthorization to address health care worker shortages, to integrate HIV/AIDS care into women's health programs, and to support evidence-based HIV prevention programs and looks forward to working with the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to implement these initiatives.

"We stand with President Obama in his commitment to improving health systems, focusing on child and maternal health, and ensuring that best practices drive global health funding, but the necessary funding must be in place to ensure success," said Daoust.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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